How Often to Replace a Car Battery

June 30th, 2021 by
Auto Mechanic Replacing Car Battery

Knowing how often to replace a car battery can save you quite a few headaches in the long run. Although batteries last four to five years, we can show you how to test a car battery at home! If you’re following the recommendations in your owner’s manual and supplementing with these simple at-home inspections, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about a dead battery.

How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

If you’re getting close to your current battery’s four or five-year anniversary, there are a few clear signs that you’ll want to watch out for. Here’s how to know if your car battery needs to be replaced:

  • Your headlights are dimmer than usual
  • Your headlights are experiencing odd power fluctuations
  • You’re having trouble starting your car
  • You’ve had to perform more than one jump-start in recent memory
  • Your electronics and features aren’t always working like they should

If you drive about as much as the average Red Bank-area driver, that four-to-five-year lifespan will translate to something like 48,000 to 60,000 miles.

How to Test a Car Battery

The easiest way to test a car battery is to turn on the vehicle, make sure that you’re in park, and rev the engine. If your headlights get brighter when you press down on the gas pedal, your alternator is pulling a lot of extra weight, and you can be fairly certain that your battery is on its last legs.

Looking for a more precise test? If you’re not yet ready to schedule service, here’s how to test a car battery with a voltmeter:

  1. Set your voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Touch the negative (black) terminal with the negative (black) probe. Then do the same with the red terminal and the red probe.
  3. Now, have a friend turn on your headlights. Check the reading.
  4. If your readout comes in at 11.8 volts or less, replace your battery as soon as possible.

A readout of 12.3 volts corresponds to a 75% charge. If your voltmeter displays 12.5 volts or higher, you’re probably good to go!

How much is a replacement car battery? Costs can vary depending on the quality of the parts you choose, but you should expect to spend somewhere between $100 and $200 before labor. The intrepid driver may also want to learn how to install a battery at home. Just remember to exercise caution whenever you’re working with these high-powered components.

What Causes Car Battery Deterioration?

Excessive heat, excessive cold, extreme vibrations, and time are the four primary causes of car battery deterioration. Expiration is unavoidable in the long term, but you can preserve the life of your battery by taking the following tips into account:

  • If your battery is nearing the end of its life, replace it before a cold day in Rumson or Colts Neck can sap the last of its power.
  • Extreme heat can cause the fluids inside a car battery to evaporate, and a battery without fluid is a dead battery.
  • If your battery’s housing has been damaged, excessive vibration can damage its internal parts. Check the clamps whenever you’re under the hood.
  • Allowing a battery to reach 0% power will shorten its overall lifespan. The more jump-starts you require, the faster your battery will expire.

Keep Your Vehicle in Top Shape at Jaguar Monmouth

At the end of the day, a battery can only go through so many recharge cycles! If you still have questions about regular battery replacement, contact our service team or reference the details in your owner’s manual today.

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